Monday, May 2, 2016

Truth and Gravity

Gravity is there whether you like it or not. If you try to go against
it, it hurts. If you know the rules of gravity, you can do amazing
things, like acrobatics, or lunar landings. The same is with spiritual
truths. When we go against eternal truths, it hurts, which we call
guilt. That pain doesn't go away until you align yourself with truth.
Once you know the rules, you too, can do much more than you ever could

My scripture of the week is Mosiah 24:15 "And now it came to pass that
the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made
light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their
burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to
all the will of the Lord."
Alex didn't send any photos this time so I found two online of the area where he is

Kanji of the week is: 磁石 pronounced "Jee-shock" and means magnet.

Monday was good, but not too much to write about in the day time. At
night we visited a less active that was really receptive to the
message that we had to share with him, and it was so awesome to see
the Spirit work in him and see him want to change.

Tuesday was a lot of finding, but not much luck. We also had a lesson
with our recent convert. It was good, because we learned a lot about
his conversion story. We didn't have anything else happen after that.

Wednesday we went and biked far away. It was really good, because we
found a less active that was really nice, and that listened to us. He
hasn't come to church in a long time, and didn't know where the new
church building was. Hopefully he starts coming again. English class
was fun.

Thursday was weekly, and after that we did more finding, but not much
else happened according to my remembrance.

Friday was Zone Training Meeting, and we had a great time there. It
was very spiritual, and I was glad that we could learn from great
leaders and missionaries. Then we went back to Aizu and it rained for
a long time. Not much else happened.

Saturday was splits with Elder Mathews. It was fun, although not too
much happened. We did get some good conversations with people on the
street though. Our lesson in the evening with our recent convert was
great, especially because we had a member come and fellowship him.

Sunday was great, and I always love learning about the Gospel and
about Jesus. It was a good day, and we ran into a nice man while
housing. A lot of time went to district leader things.

That's my week. I hope that you all had and will have good weeks! Love you all!



Friday, April 29, 2016

Utah Local: Route 67 Tex-Mex

My neighbor Kim posted about this brand new restaurant owned by someone in her family so I was in a hurry to go try it out for 3 reasons. 1. I wanted some good food! 2. I like to support local business. 3. I wanted to share it with everyone on Facebook and on my blog. So I was glad to actually enjoy their yummy food and be able to support them in my little way by being a customer.

BUT I have failed you all because I left my camera bag on my sofa so the only photos I have were taken with my phone. As you can see, the quality is not good. Hopefully I'll remember it next time and take some more. But I think you can still see the fresh ingredients and get hungry just looking at the tacos.

Route 67 Tex-Mex is in American Fork in a shopping strip at 456 E State Road Suite 1200, right at the intersection of 500 E. and State St. The front of the restaurant actually faces 500 E., not State, but it is set back a bit from the road. There is plenty of parking.

Before I went, I saw that the online MENU has descriptions of all the dishes, but it doesn't have prices so I wanted to snap some photos of the menu there with prices, but my photos of the menu were very blurry.

Besides the regular menu, they also have a featured item of the day which changes. Today was a South of the Border Burger with fries and a drink for $10.50.

The salads (that photo was too blurry to post) are available in half or full sizes, which I love because I have a small appetite.

Steak        Half $7.95 Full $10.95
Chicken    Half $5.95 Full $8.95
Shrimp     Half $7.95 Full 10.95

They also had nachos on the menu, but I didn't get a pic of that so I don't know the price.

Unlike at some restaurants, they don't ask you if you'd like black or pinto beans. It's black. 

I went with my daughter Elisa and she and I usually share a dish, but we didn't this time so that we could try two things instead of just one. I ordered the steak tacos and Elisa ordered the chicken tacos (not street tacos) and we each swapped one of each with each other.

These are the Vino Tinto Pomegranate Steak Tacos just as they came out to the table. It's difficult to tell, but the tacos are smaller than most that I've had. Here is my daughter holding one so you can sorta, kinda see the size.

The steak was very tender and well seasoned. I loved the pomegranate pico on it. Yum! I don't often eat beef when I have a choice, but this time, I actually preferred the steak to the chicken tacos.

I didn't really taste pineapple in my taco, but it was good and I thought the use of kale on a taco was interesting and tasty.

I really like the unique combinations of flavors that I haven't seen in other restaurants. Next time I go, I will try the steak salad. Or maybe the pork tacos, even though I rarely eat pork. That chipotle mango is tempting me. And eventually the nachos! I guess I'll have to go back soon.

I know that running a restaurant is so, so, SO much work (from seeing my sister and brother-in-law when they had one), so go support Route 67 and eat good food and pass along the word to others!

And Route 67 is just a block away from The Puppy Barn so we stopped by there after lunch and played with some cute little puppies.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Southwestern Chicken Cups

Found the recipe for these at Kevin and Amanda (lots of great recipes there) and tweaked it just a tiny bit. I love the crisp won ton wrappers and the combination of flavors. They're cute for a dinner or party food! Next time I might try it with just a little sour cream and some avocado on top before serving. 

Southwestern Chicken Cups
1 T. olive oil
2 c. frozen diced bell pepper and onion mix (or 1 c. each, fresh)
2 c. corn kernels (canned, fresh, or frozen)
1 t. salt
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. canned black beans, drained
12 oz. (2 c.) cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1 t. pepper
2 T. cilantro, chopped
Crushed red pepper, to taste 
1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
24 won ton wrappers

Preheat oven to 375°. Generously coat a standard-size muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Add olive oil to a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot, carefully add the onions, bell peppers, salt. If you're using frozen corn, add it now. If you're using canned or fresh corn, add it later with the beans. Cook the veggies, stirring occasionally, until slightly blackened on the edges, about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add the minced garlic, and stir until fragrant and well incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the beans, chicken, and pepper. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

Place one full won ton wrapper and a half won ton wrapper overlapping (to make a slightly larger wrapper) in the bottom of each cup in the prepared muffin pan. Fill with chicken mixture and top with about 1 tablespoon cheese.

Bake for 12 minutes, until heated through and edges are golden.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Work, work, work

I am glad to hear that Alex had a better week this past week. But it's crazy how late he's been writing lately. I got his mass email around midnight and then his letter to me at almost 4 am. 

My week was better just because I didn't have to stay at home sick. I don't like sitting and doing nothing. I feel useless. I had a runny nose, and a fever, and that was about all the symptoms. Thank you for your prayers, I can feel their effects.

Thank you for the encouragement. It is harder sometimes to see that I'm always doing good than others, but I'm trying, and that's all that God asks. As you saw from the mass email, we didn't find anyone yet, but we're always looking. If we stop, we'll never find anyone. The blessings don't come until after the trial of our faith. Thank you for the reminder about my role, and the role of agency in the lives of others. I truly do feel both the weight of the thousands of souls placed on my shoulder, but also the light yoke that is Christ's Gospel.

I rarely talk about the end of his mission, but I told Alex that someone told me this week how sad he was to be home after his mission. His family was crying because they were happy to have him home, but he wanted to cry because he wanted to go back. This is what Alex said about that.  

I will definitely feel like Brother B. when I come home, because I already don't want to leave at all. Of course I realize that there is more for me to do than just missionary work as part of the plan of happiness established by our Father, but it will be a sad departure from all those I have come to love. I don't usually think about my homecoming, but I just noticed that I have almost exactly 6 months left until I come home. How crazy!

This week has been a bit more productive and healthy.
My scripture of the week is Doctrine and Covenants 84:80 "And any man
that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to
continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither
darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head
shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry,
neither athirst."
Kanji of the week is: 避難 pronounced "hee-nan" and means evacuation.
Monday was not anything special, and I don't have anything to say about it.
Tuesday we just talked to lots of people, and also had a lesson with
our recent convert.
Wednesday we went to a different area by train, and tried to visit
less active members. Having not been to meet any of them, and not
having a train that would get us back in time, we talked to people as
we walked back to our bikes, ate dinner, and then had English class.
That was normal.
Thursday we had weekly planning. After that we did finding, and in the
evening we had an activity that not too many people showed up to.
Friday was zone conference, and it was great, as usual. After that,
the only thing we were able to do was English class.
Eating well!
Saturday we went around and tried to visit less active members, but the only one who was home didn't want to talk with us. In the evening, we went to the church and met with President Smith and went to dinner with him, followed by teaching members at the church with him. It was fun, and I liked the experience. Sunday's regular church meetings were great, and President Smith gave a nice talk in sacrament meeting, and I learned in my other classes. Then we went to Koriyama and had a region fire side. It was great, lots of members and non-members came, and we had amazing music and presentations. That's my week, I hope you all are doing well. I love you! Love, Elder 長老

Friday, April 22, 2016

Spinach and Garlic Potato Patties

I seem to have a bit of an obsession with potatoes and when I saw these at Diethood I had to make them. I made them tonight and devoured  several of them. They are similar to the Ecuadorian Llampingachos that I make, but slightly different. 

After processing the boiled potatoes in the food processor instead of by hand, I threw the other ingredients into the processor and quickly mixed it. In the photo, you can see that I used red onion. These are garlicky and I like the crisp outside.

In case you would like to try some of the other potato dishes I like, I have also made Mashed Potato Puffs and Mashed Potato, Cheese and Chive Waffles and posted the recipes.

Spinach and Garlic Potato Patties
1-lb. potatoes (about 4 medium-sized potatoes), boiled, peeled and quartered
¼ c. milk
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 bag (8 to 10 oz.) baby spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 c. shredded parmesan cheese
2 T. lemon juice
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 c. panko crumbs
¼ c. olive oil, for frying (add more as needed)
Optional Toppings:
Sour Cream
Soy Sauce

Combine prepared potatoes and milk in a large mixing bowl; using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add spinach and garlic to skillet; season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for 2 more minutes, or until spinach is wilted.

Remove from heat and add spinach mixture to the potatoes. Stir in cheese and lemon juice. Add egg and panko/bread crumbs; stir until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Shape the mixture into patties. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Working in batches, fry each patty on both sides until golden brown; about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer potato patties to a paper towel–lined plate.

Serve with yogurt, sour cream or soy sauce, if desired.